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By Godfrey Olukya 11-10-2012

Religious leaders in Zambia have come out openly to criticize Zambia’s public order act saying it violates human rights.

Their umbrella organization, called council of Churches in Zambia has said that the public act as it is, does not fit to be applied in modern era.

The act, according to religious leaders, limits people from holding demonstrations. It also gives police too much powers as far stopping riots is concerned.

The secretary general of the council of Churches in Zambia Reverend Suzanne Matale said,’ Citizens have to enjoy freedom in their
country. The public order Act is a repressive law that needs to be changed. It victimizes people that have divergent views on national
issues.’

She said that at one time the country’s president, Michael Sata had agreed with them that the act was oppressive and had even agreed to repeal it. She is now surprised that the president had changed his mind on repealing the Act that oppressed the voices of people.

She said that although the President has changed his mind and is not willing to repeal the Act, the Church would not change it’s earlier
position that the law was bad.

She said, ‘We are principled. We do not shift goals and we are going to keep championing for this Act to be changed. When we stand on an issue we stand, we do not change colors. We said before that we don’t like the public order Act and we will say it now that we still do not like it.’

President Michael Sata last week reportedly described the Act as a good law. Before he became president he has said that it was a
terrible act that could not be accepted in a democratic state.

Matale observed that it was sad that the government had begun to negate on issues that they did not like when they were in opposition.

Members of the opposition in the country have also appealed to the government to repeal the bad act.

END

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